How To Get The Skater Style

When shopping for your new wardrobe, keeping up with the latest skater fashion trends can ensure you get the right clothing to fit the part. If you want to dress like you belong on a skateboard, check out our guide to getting the skater style. Whether you want modern or vintage outfit ideas and inspiration, we’ll show you exactly how to wear skater clothes and look good.

Are You Ready For The Return Of Skater Fashion?

As a kid growing up in Puerto Rico, I never had the ovaries to try skateboarding. It looked too dangerous and painful, with skateboarders sporting more than a few scratches and bruises. Still, I envied the cool California-inspired look shared by the women who practiced the sport in San Juan. So I went shopping at the local PacSun, looking for anything that would signify the kind of cool-girl aesthetic that would make me look as if I owned a skateboard. Think: board shorts, Roxy-logo T-shirts, colourful backpacks, low-rise baggy jeans, and Converse sneakers. But at some point, I couldn’t keep up the ruse, so I gave up.

Now, with the return of ‘90s and early 2000s style, skater fashion is yet again having a moment. And I’m keeping an eye out.

Recently, Shakira sported metallic pink baggy pants with a matching beanie, paired with black elbow pads and Vans high-top sneakers on the video for “Don’t Wait Up.” Meanwhile, Avril Lavigne made her TikTok debut in June, lip-syncing to her 2002 hit “Sk8er Boi,” alongside skating legend Tony Hawk. In November 2020, Bad Bunny released a skateboard-heavy video clip for his single “Yo Visto Así,” in which he sings over a trap-rock beat that might as well be a Linkin Park song. Over the past year, rollerblading and skateboarding also started trending on Instagram and TikTok, as people gravitated toward the sports to combat pandemic anxiety and spend some much-needed time safely out of doors.

It’s been six decades since skateboarding was first created by California-based surfers who took their water hobby to land. This year, the sport debuted at the Tokyo Olympics, alongside other newcomers surfing and climbing, cementing its role in the international arena. Fashion has taken notice: since April, searches containing the word “skater” have increased 46% on the global fashion engine Lyst, and searches for Nike skateboarding products rose over 35% after the first Olympic competitions took place in July.

One of the brands benefitting from this surge is PacSun, the skate and surf lifestyle retailer. The brand’s president Brieane Olson has overseen the company’s return to its heyday-like trendiness over the past five years, using the power of influencers and tastemakers to harness PacSun’s popularity with today’s generation.

“We are very proud of our heritage,” she says. “But we are thinking about the relevancy that the brand has for the consumer, especially Gen Z.”

Earlier this year, the brand partnered with cult YouTuber and influencer Emma Chamberlain to curate a set of styles available on PacSun’s website, including oversized T-shirts, tie-dye sweatshirts, pastel-coloured lounge sets, white Vans sneakers, and crop tops. In June, the brand announced that rapper A$AP Rocky would become its guest artistic director, releasing a nostalgia-heavy collection full of printed loungewear sets, basketball-inspired T-shirts, and flame-embellished Vans sneakers.

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These campaigns, says Olson, are a way for PacSun to capitalise both on its long history within skate culture and the industry’s current obsession with ‘90s style. “We’re seeing designers and luxury houses do it, and the impact that social media has had in bringing back the Y2K and late ‘90s aesthetic is very important,” she says.

Marian Park, a youth strategist at forecasting agency WGSN, notes that the revival of the era’s style doesn’t necessarily mean creating exact replicas of what people used to wear. “As always with Gen Z, previous iterations of skater fashion get mashed up with other key reference points, this time from the ‘90s and ‘00s,” says Park. “So we are seeing strong affiliations in wider youth fashion trends to skater style proportions.”

From a marketing perspective, Olson says that the Olympics provided a unique opportunity in the brand’s history to play into an international event this large. She says it also offered a chance to show the audience the athleticism skateboarding requires, and subsequently, the clothes and footwear that help now-Olympians win gold. While PacSun has long sponsored athletes, the Olympics’ stamp of approval added some credibility to the sport. “Those are undeniably elite athletes and it gave them a much larger and much more global reach,” she says.

This year’s Olympics also saw athletes, including skaters, jump on TikTok to share behind-the-scenes glimpses into their training and everyday routines at the Olympic Village. Olson says that this helped PacSun boost the brand’s relevance for a younger generation who weren’t around to witness the rise of skate culture in the ‘90s. On the app, #skateboarding has generated over 12 billion views, while #olympics has over 8 billion views, with the help of skateboarding Olympians Brazilian Rayssa Leal and American Jagger Eaton.

“The app was creating a dialogue with the audience that I think is important in terms of building community around the sport,” Olson says.

How To Get The Skater Style

How To Get The Skater Style

  • Chris Dek
  • January 3, 2023

While ’90s fashion is making a comeback, skater style never stopped being mainstream and cool. With a huge loyal following around the world, skater fashion has always been popular and trendy among teens and young people alike. From oversized shirts and loose cuffed pants to Vans sneakers and tube socks, there are many skater outfits to experiment with if you want to create the perfect look. While the aesthetic can be different depending on your style, elements of your attire should be equal parts comfortable, protective, and rebellious.

When shopping for your new wardrobe, keeping up with the latest skater fashion trends can ensure you get the right clothing to fit the part. If you want to dress like you belong on a skateboard, check out our guide to getting the skater style. Whether you want modern or vintage outfit ideas and inspiration, we’ll show you exactly how to wear skater clothes and look good.

Skater Outfits

  • 1 What Is Skate Style?
  • 2 Skater Outfits
    • 2.1 Skate Shoes
    • 2.2 Skater Shorts
    • 2.3 Graphic T-Shirts
    • 2.4 Skate Pants
    • 2.5 Hoodies
    • 2.6 Socks
    • 2.7 Hats

    What Is Skate Style?

    Skate style is the type of clothing worn by the rebellious and effortlessly cool young skaters who popularized the sport in the ‘90s. Though skateboarding developed in the ‘70s, it was not until it became massively popular in the 1990’s that the sport began to have its own fashion associated with it. Similar to military-inspired pieces, skater clothes were developed for function first and the style developed and grew from there. Skaters preferred loose clothing to allow them room to move and durable pieces that gives them protection when they wiped out.

    Skater Fashion

    Of course, skating faced widespread pushback as it became popular, so skaters created a subculture of rebelliousness that seeped into their clothing. The pieces they wore were intentionally out-of-style and unique, and this became fashionable as skateboarding became wildly popular. The skater aesthetic is casual and edgy with an anti-establishment look. With so many major brands and designers creating cool skater outfits for men, there are a variety of fashion trends and styles to consider when dressing like a skater boy.

    Skater Style

    Skater Outfits

    Skate Shoes

    The first piece of any good skate style outfit is a pair of skate shoes. In the late ‘90s, the market for skate shoes exploded, with brands like DC and Etnies creating their signature large, clunky skate shoes and Vans pushing their more minimalist style. Traditional activewear brands like Adidas, Puma, and Nike also created lines of shoes for skating. Since then, much of the more outrageous styles have faded away, while the most versatile shoes have remained. Stick the classics with shoes like the Vans Old Skools, Puma Suede Classics, or Adidas Seeleys. For high tops, try Converse or Vans Sk8-His. These options will never go out of style, whether you’re trying to land the 10-stair gap by your house or just going to the store.

    Skate Shoes

    Skater Shorts

    Skate shorts were chosen to be loose-fitting and durable. This made thick cotton shorts extremely popular among skaters. As opposed to contemporary styles in which men’s shorts are fitted and end above the knee, skate shorts are loose and long. Look for a long pair of cargo shorts or a pair of chino shorts that end at your knee to achieve this style.

    Skater Shorts

    Graphic T-Shirts

    Graphic tees are a mainstay in skate style. Find a T-shirt made by your favorite brand, like Stussy or Santa Cruz, and grab it. The tees favored by skaters are cut large and loose like everything else, and they are strictly crew necks. Go to a local skate shop or surf shop to find some tees for this look. Though many high-end brands have tried to emulate the style of the classic skate tees, real skate brands still make them best. Plus, they won’t hurt your wallet as much.

    Skater Style Shirts

    Skate Pants

    Skate pants represent the modern trend towards fitted pants and skateboarders often choose cuts that are easy to move in. Jeans are popular in loose straight fits with the ankles cuffed. Work pants and khakis like Dickies are also popular because they are incredibly durable. Keep your style simple with your choice of loose pants, an oversized shirt, and your preferred skate shoes. Stay away from chinos or sweatpants, as these would be impractical while skating and never became common in skate style. Today, softer tailoring is being embraced across the board, so you will be able to find skate pants from many different retailers.

    Skater Pants

    Hoodies

    Hoodies were an obvious choice for skaters: they are versatile, warm, and protective. Many of the same brands that make the tees favored by skaters also make great hooded sweatshirts. Once you find some brands that you love, start taking a look at their hoodies. Pick up some that are understated so you can wear them throughout your wardrobe or go bold to make a statement with loud colors and bright graphics. Wear your hoodies with jeans, khakis or even shorts and sneakers.

    Skater Style Hoodies

    Socks

    More so than other styles, skatewear places an emphasis on socks. Socks draw on the origins of skating more than any other pieces of skate style do. Modern skate socks still prominently feature the striped tube styles that were popular in the ‘70s. Worn with a pair of Old Skools and shorts, this style of sock will always have a place in skate style. Brands like Stance have made an entire company based around extravagant socks that blend sometimes outrageous graphics with high-performance materials that will keep you on your feet all day long.

    Skater Style Socks

    Hats

    Great for adding a little style and some protection from the sun, hats are another element of skate style. Standard ball caps are a great choice to add a finishing touch to your outfit, but there are a lot of possibilities to explore. Brands like Brixton, Thrasher, Volcom, Lib Tech, Vans and Deathwish make a slew of hats to choose from with interesting patterns and unusual fabrics, such as corduroy. Six-panel hats offer a unique profile with interesting color palettes to incorporate into your style.

    Skater Style Hats

    Skate Brands

    One of the best ways to define your skate style is by finding brands you love. Since the rise in popularity of skateboarding, there are plenty of brands to explore. Big brands like Dickies, Nike, Levis, and Adidas all have popular skatewear lines. Some brands like Volcom, Element, and DC are more focused on the skateboarding aesthetic. Finally, some brands are more fashion-forward while still maintaining the style that anchors all skatewear. These include RVCA, Brixton, and The Hundreds. When in doubt, head to your local skate shop to see what they have in stock. You might even discover some local brands that you will have unique access to.

    Skate Brands

    How To Get The Skater Style

    If you want to dress like a skater, here are some tips to getting the skater style:

    • Choose casual and comfortable styles that allow you to skateboard but also fit the proper aesthetic.
    • Sport oversized graphic t-shirts, hoodies, long-sleeve shirts, and jackets from the right brands.
    • Pair your top with skinny jeans, baggy khaki pants, cargo shorts, or loose fit shorts.
    • Wear skate shoes from classic brands like Vans and Converse for a cool skater boy style.
    • Complement the skater fashion with accessories like tube socks, a classic wallet chain, logo cap, and small backpack.
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